Spain is a country full of history, culture, stunning landscapes and nature areas, mountains and, of course, an amazing range of beaches.
Visitors to Spain can choose between well-known cities, beach holidays or enjoy nature with walking, riding, rafting and many more activities.
In Navarre you can enjoy waterfalls, sporting activities and adventure parks. At the end of spring is the best time to visit the waterfalls and you will be able to enjoy these in Cubo and Xorroxin and at the source of the Urederra River.
If you choose to visit in spring and summer the Bardenas Reales Nature Reserve offers a desert landscape which is ideal to visit on a Segway or for cycle touring. In winter, the Pyrenees offer cross-country skiing or snowshoes. There are many nature areas in the region where you can enjoy outdoor activities, such as canyoning, kayaking, caving and climbing; for example in nature reserves of Foz de Lumbier, Señorio de Bertiz, Aralar or Urbasa y Andia.
In Navarre there are castles, watchtowers and fortifications and you will find four routes which cover the whole of the region and link 19 strategic points which have been crucial to the defence of the territory of Navarre throughout history. The routes will take you to Pamplona where you can explore the citadel, in addition to the castles of Javier and Olite.
In Aragon you can visit its castles and fortresses. Drive along the roads throughout the region and you will be able to enjoy landscapes in small towns and villages, such as Uncastillo, Sos del Rey Católico and Loarre, whose fortresses are open to visitors. Try the fortified city of Jaca, a perfect pentagon whose unusual layout can be seen from the air, and the Aljafería Palace in Zaragoza, whose façade conceals the imposing Arab presence that can be seen inside. Other castles in the region include Sadaba (Zaragoza), Aínsa and Montearagon (Huesca), as well as the castle of Mora de Rubielos (Teruel). Choose two nearby places with castles and make a day long visit so that you can explore the historic mediaeval quarter of the town.
The region of Murcia in south-eastern Spain on the Mediterranean offers mild weather for most of the year and a destination very popular with golfers. The two main cities in the region are Murcia and Cartagena.
The destination offers the opportunity to enjoy a holiday combination of sports, health and beauty; visit any of the region’s spa resorts or the Mar Menor area and experience all the beneficial properties of their mud treatments and mineral-rich waters.
There are several golf courses a short distance from the capital Murcia such as the Mosa Golf Club, and the Altorreal Golf Club in the town of Molina de Segura. Rest and relaxation may be taken at the Archena spa resort or the Fortuna-Leana spa.
A short distance from Cartagena there are other choices for golf: the Torre-Pacheco club in the town of the same name, with the only floodlit course on the Mediterranean; the La Manga Club, with its three 18 hole courses, in Los Belones; and the Hacienda del Alamo club, in Fuente Alamo. Right next door you will find La Manga del Mar Menor, a beautiful nature area where you can treat yourself to its famous mud – extremely good for the skin.
In the region in the space of a few kilometres you will find cliffs, tiny coves, long sandy beaches which are internationally recognised, protected, unspoilt inlets. The clean blue seawater dominates the whole area and it is ideal for swimming and water sports such as kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving, water skiing, kitesurf and rowing.
Close to Mazarrón you will find Bolnuevo Beach one of the most unusual landscapes in Murcia because of its amazing sandstone formations. Visit Manga del Mar Menor it is an emblem of the region; a narrow strip of land delimiting a huge coastal salt water lagoon known as the Mar Menor that opens out into the Mediterranean. Along the Costa Cálida you will find picturesque villages like La Azohía, Cabo de Palos and El Portus, close to Cartagena which has a naturist campsite; there are protected nature areas such as the Cabo Cope Regional Nature Reserve and the Calblanque Nature Reserve.
Madrid is a city with stunning architecture both old and new and a wealth of history.
A visit to Madrid will offer a raft of opportunities to explore the city, shopping, museums, art galleries, gardens and experience flamenco.
Get the Madrid Card which is an excellent way to explore the city. It includes entry to over 50 museums (with priority admission in many of them) and great discounts in shops and restaurants. When you buy your Madrid Card you will receive a guide book in Spanish, English, Italian, German and French.
Another way to make the most of your visit is Madrid City Tour which is an easy and comfortable way to discover the city. You have to buy a one – two-day ticket, get the bus and listen to the recorded commentaries and enjoy the streets, monuments and places of interest in comfort. You can hop off wherever you want, as many times as you like.
See the art galleries and museums; go shopping in Barrio de Salamanca for luxury shopping; Plaza Mayor – centuries old square in the centre of Madrid, still home to shops of skilled artisans. Walk down the Gran Via at least to window shop for jewellery, fashion and boutiques. The city is also home to excellent department stores. Include a visit to Rastro flea market.
For the evening the city’s tablaos (special flamenco clubs) offer food and the opportunity to enjoy flamenco – Corral de la Moreria, Torres Bermejas, Café de Chinitas, Las Tablas, Las Carboneras. Full information about these tablaos may be found on the Madrid website.
Discover lesser-known landscapes in the Madrid Region such as the Canencia ecological route, Fuenfria valleys or Paular and the countryside surrounding El Escorial.
Catalonia in the north east of Spain offers its capital city Barcelona and coastal resorts of the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada. Barcelona is situated between the mountains and the sea. It is a cosmopolitan city with Roman remains, medieval quarters and modern architecture. Visitors can explore La Ramblas a tree-lined pedestrian walkway, a busy and lively street where you will find many tourists. In Barcelona you will see several examples of Gaudi architecture the most famous of which is La Sagrada Familia, although building started almost a century ago it is still incomplete, however the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in November 2010 was consecrated. Barcelona also has beaches but the city prefers visitors not to wear their beach attire when in the city itself and also to wear appropriate clothing when visiting churches, museums and more formal buildings. Visitors will find an array of shopping opportunities from boutiques to department stores.
The Costa Brava offers miles of rugged coastline and sandy beaches, little towns and small fishing ports like Cadaques which was the residence of Salvador Dali. The Dali Theatre-Museum can be visited in Figueres.
The Costa Dorada stretches further down the coast and includes Tarragona an historic city.
In the Catalan region the languages are Catalan and Spanish. In most of the tourist areas Spanish will be spoken especially to visitors and English is spoken by many people in tourist areas.
Andalusia – this region offers the coastline of the Costa del Sol with choices of Marbella, Fuengirola and other destinations for beach holidays and cities of Malaga which offers history and culture, restaurants and shopping. Away from the coast are the cities of Seville, Cordoba and Granada. Moorish and Christian elements can be found in the streets of Granada. The palace and gardens of the Alhambra and the Generalife, together with the Albaicín neighbourhood, have the UNESCO World Heritage designation. Granada offers access to skiing but is close enough to the coast to go to the beach.
Many of the cities throughout the country offer special discount passes for visiting museums and attractions and details of these may be obtained from the tourist offices.
For more information visit: www.spain.info